Powered by i.TV
September 1, 2014

Two Ways 'Mike & Molly' Has Improved ... And One Way It Hasn't

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 14th 2011 4:30PM
'Mike & Molly'Even though the Chuck Lorre comedy factory has seemingly cranked out yet another hit in 'Mike & Molly,' the freshman CBS sitcom had a bit of a rough go of it out of the gate, at least with critics and others in the media.

First there were the scathing reviews of the pilot -- mine included -- that criticized how it leaned too much on jokes about the weight of leads Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell. Then a writer for Marie Claire posted a breezy blog entry about how she couldn't stand the sight of the two heavy actors making out, leading one of those typical Internet poopstorms that leaves the writer begging to be let into the Witness Protection Program.

While all of this was going on, though, the show had developed a solid core that would allow it to find its comedic legs more quickly than other rookie sitcoms have. Its fellow freshman classmate, '$#*! My Dad Says,' has struggled even to get to mediocre, for example. 'Mike & Molly' has been able to get to the point where, while not the funniest or edgiest comedy out there, it's been entertaining enough to keep me tuning in every week. Why?

They've Concentrated on Mike and Molly's Relationship and Laid Off the Fat Jokes
In recent episodes, we've seen the battle that ensued between Molly and Mike's mother when Mike got sick, and what happens when Mike tells Molly that he wants to be buried next to her. This week, we get to see what happens when a previous relationship that Molly has never mentioned rears its ugly head.

These are issues that happen in every budding relationship, and the comedy from them comes out of how each character reacts to them. As we've gone on, we've seen that Mike is protective of his battle axe of a mother even though she drives him nuts. Molly is loving and warm, but is still trying to tread the waters of this new relationship carefully -- her reaction to Mike's premature burial request sent him into a tailspin.

'Mike & Molly' - 'Molly Makes Soup'Sure, you still hear the occasional fat joke, mostly from Mike's partner Carl (Reno Wilson). But that's to be expected, mainly because that's what happens when guys get together: they bust chops. But, as I mentioned in October, these jokes do what they're designed to do, which is be secondary places to get laughs rather than what the writers lean on.

The Families Are Better-Defined
Rondi Reed has played crusty broads forever, but she's been a welcome addition to the cast as Mike's mother. For some reason, her brand of complaining, martyrdom, overprotectiveness, and overall weirdness (she treats her dog Jim like he's a tiny human) seem to make her a much more realistic character than Molly's wine-swilling floozy of a mother, played by Swoozie Kurtz.

But even there, things have improved, as Joyce has found a partner in debauchery. Vince (played by Louis Mustillo) may be every stereotype of a Chicago middle-aged yahoo, but for some reason, pairing his character up with Kurtz's seems to work.

Even Carl has gotten some rounding, as we see his grandmother (Cleo King) put him in his place on a weekly basis. Sure, the dialogue between them sometimes sounds like it comes from an episode of a '70s sitcom like 'That's My Mama.' But at least we see why a little of why he is the way he is.

The topic of the characters' families, though, brings me to the one aspect of the show that still isn't working and either needs to be fixed or eliminated:

Molly's Sister Is Still a Cartoon Character
Doesn't it feel like Katy Mixon, who plays Molly's constantly-stoned sister Victoria, is on a different sitcom than the rest of the cast? Even though the character is from Chicago, Mixon still voices her in a vaguely Southern accent. All her character does is talk about being stoned, and Mixon delivers her lines slowly while mugging for the camera.

Maybe she's there as the "person who will say anything" character all sitcoms lately seem to have. Lorre seems to like that type of character: Larry on 'Dharma & Greg' begat Jake on 'Two and a Half Men', who begat Wolowitz on 'The Big Bang Theory,' so Victoria is the latest in a long line of outrageous Lorre characters. But she just seems like a distraction to what's being built among all the rest of the characters on the show. She either needs to develop a personality or move away and never be heard from again, Chuck Cunningham–style.

Tell us: Do you think 'Mike & Molly' has gotten better?


'Mike & Molly' airs Mondays at 9:30PM on CBS.

Follow @joelkeller on Twitter and on Facebook.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

19 Comments

Filter by:
Gale Cannon

Waited all week to watch Mike & Molly at 9:30, and they werent on. I see on the comp. you listed the new show at 10:30, on the 26th of Sept. which is correct?

September 20 2011 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lacpeb

The entire cast is excellent. I could not disagree with you more, Mr. Keller. The sister's character is a scream, and I feel strongly that she could spin off into her own show. If she "went away" as you suggest, I would no longer find the show to be nearly as funny. My least favorite character on the show is Mike's mother. She is caustic and bitter and unpleasant to watch

September 19 2011 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laura

Mike & Molly ARE great, cant wait till to seem them , are they going to be on the same time Monday at 9;30 I notice there not on the 19th , please bring them back

September 18 2011 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
primetime65

dont miss one show!! very happy that mike and molly will be back for season 2!! if not home to watch it , i dvr it!!

July 04 2011 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hi michelene

I watched it first run and now even watch the reruns of M and M . I so enjoy this show. I am tired of seeing reality shows ever other hour, on the net work schedule. I watch one and that is Amazing Race, for you learn of other countries. So lets all keep watching a real good sitcom.
michelene

July 01 2011 at 4:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TERRI

I EVEN WATCH THE RERUNS. I JUST CANT GET ENOUGH OF THIS SHOW. EVERY ACTOR ON THIS SHOW IS JUST AS FUNNY AS THE NEXT. AND VICTORIA, WHO PLAYED ON AN EPISODE OF 2 1/2 MEN, STEALS THE SHOW, AS DOES CARL. THEY BOTH NEED BIGGER PARTS. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL COMCAST TO GET RID OF SOME OF THOSE RIDICULOUS PROGRAMS "ON DEMAND" & PUT THIS IN THEIR PLACE?

June 06 2011 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry Birnbaum

On Mike and Molly, the episode on April 11, did Billy Gardell play the other fat guy that was at the baseball game?

April 11 2011 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tracy

I continue to watch Mike and Molly. Not b/c of M&M, but for the supporting cast. The actor who plays the waiter, the sister and Swoozie are the best parts of this show. Yes, they have laid off the fat jokes and rounded out the families, but I do not find Mike and Molly likable.

April 11 2011 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J

Hi to the writers and producers of Mike & Molly.

I sure do hope that this show will NOT be in jeopardy due to the Two and A Half Mens star Charlie Sheen being fired from that show, I would love them both to be continued: as they are my regimin programs on Monday evenings..I look very forward to my relaxing to the wonderful comedy of both these shows..
I also compliment Chuck Lorre for producing a show that shows the real world which includes overweight people as well as the very thin.. Many people do NOT realize that overweight people do fall in love, have sex, and many other things in their lives just as the slender do...I also Love Victoria and her mom they are a blast from the past..they keep you laughing and should be an hour long show...I am PROUD of you CHUCK for producing both these wonderful shows and hope they stay on CBS. in the fall as well..

Sincerly:
Jan Wyland
Sukiyama@hotmail.com

March 08 2011 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lagalee

I love Mike & Molly they are so average. I can't wait until the next week comes just to see them. They are a loveable couple.

February 22 2011 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners